Elliot, a siamang gibbon at the Tisch Family Zoological Gardens in Jerusalem, simply can't abide men. The source of his, er, animosity, toward males of the human species is fierce jealousy in regard to his mate, Mallaca.
It seems that since Elliot was raised in human surroundings, the difference between primates and humans has become blurred in his mind. He views every male as a potential threat to his status as Mallaca's sole partner. His anxiety and wrath seem to grow in direct proportion to how muscular and hairy the man is who approaches her.
This wouldn't have been a problem for the zoo's caretakers if they weren't forced to come in daily contact with him. But the siamangs live on an island in the middle of an artificial lake, and staffers must row there in a small boat in order to bring food to the animals and clean up after them. This means they must come face to face with the apes.
Once, when Elliot noticed the unshaven face of an approaching worker, his reaction was particularly extreme. He waited until the boat reached the island and then leaped inside and pounced on its macho occupant. The injured man grabbed his attacker by the hide, tossed him into the water and rowed back to safer shores.
Another man who had the misfortune to be taken for an interloper was a gardener who was on the island to install some sprinklers. A random glance in Mallaca's direction instantly set Elliot's blood boiling. He jumped on the gardener and sank his teeth into the man's back, causing serious lacerations.
The solution to the problem? As usual - women. Female caretakers now clean and repair the structures on the island and provide the inhabitants with medical care when needed. Elliot doesn't feel threatened. Mallaca may not be crazy about good-looking females in overalls, but her woman's intuition apparently keeps her from making the same kind of jealous scenes.
Want to enjoy 'Zen' reading - with no ads and just the article? Subscribe todaySubscribe now